The Distorted Modern Mirror of History and Perception

WHEN TWO MIRRORS ARE HELD FACING EACH OTHER a regression of reflections results. A corridor of mirrors dwindling away into minuscule images beyond the range of vision is created. But each time the reflections repeat themselves the quality of the reflection degrades ever so slightly. At first this change is hardly noticeable, but as we look deeper into the never-ending well of repeating images the degradation becomes obvious and long before the vanishing point it becomes a blurred, hazy, jumble of indistinct fuzziness. So it is when we look along the tunnel of time, past and future.

There the degradation exists in our minds, our consciousness. It is not the image which is lacking in clarity but the mirror of our perception…the clouded glass through which all our seeing is done – the past is what it was but the relics and stories of what remains of it in our time do not often allow us a clear perception. And our own immersion in our present affects our viewpoint so that we interpret from the standpoint of our era, its ideologies, and all its myriad biases and foibles.

Thanks to ideological geopolitics and the overwhelming propaganda that accompanies it, our era is not graced with serenity. These are event driven times, full of motion, movement, turmoil, political prejudice, unjustified support for war, unjustified slaughter, an era of vast lies to justify great oppression, of false narratives to colonize minds – an antithesis to contemplation and careful consideration. For us, for our time, the future rarely extends its horizon beyond the next day, week, or month. And so we are forced to hang on every political manoeuvre, every military action, every false claim that must be refuted, every escalation of oppression that must be countered, and, in these troubled times, diligently follow the ever-shifting state of attempts to manipulate world opinion and politics.

We watch incessantly, intently, so focused on each advancing tick of the event-clock that past and future are seemingly banished to the cloudy, unfocused edges of peripheral vision. The principle of cause and effect in human affairs recedes into irrelevancy, and like an amnesiac our societies dwell in a disconnected, decoupled, never-ending present. One where history begins when our government’s geopolitics says it begins, and where current events move at such a speed that the past vanishes and frightening and dangerous futures approach with breakneck speed.

It is not that there is a degradation of image in our view of past events, but there is hardly any image left to consider, and our focus on the immediacy of the present is such that our memory and relatability to the past and its lessons fades to an indiscernible blur. If the past is referred to it is often a revisionist past or a fragment mentioned only to bolster the acceptance of an unpleasant or brutalist present day agenda or policy. In other words the past is of interest primarily inasmuch as it can be shown to mirror or support present day desires and objectives – it becomes little more than an extension of a State’s or bloc’s collective modern ego, a token to bolster and justify power and hegemony.

And so we are in danger of being left with no solid point of reference with which to judge events and insufficient context with which to understand them. With vast amounts of knowledge at our fingertips, with technology that borders on magic at our daily command, with mountains of information at our disposal, we seem nevertheless destined to repeatedly encounter disaster and horror around the world and to meet it by dealing out the same. Over time, as the never-ending present we dwell in grows increasingly nightmarish, increasingly brutal, we will shake our heads in confusion and wonder how all this could come to be – and we will never truly know since we cut ourselves adrift from the sources which could help us to understand and seek solutions for our problems. Past and future – cause and effect – continuity and coherence. These are replaced with a blind, foolish politics of justification, a defence of the indefensible, the complete disruption of nations, the callous destruction of innocents, and a rising spiral of escalation, derangement, and death.

Only the noise and clamour of the present remains – the cold horror of sudden death by State terror, the hollow rhetoric and tiresome lies of leaders, the moment by moment media reports, the shameless and endlessly broadcast propaganda and lies, the faulty and destructive strategies of war, the crushing blows of armies, the transformation of economics, trade, diplomacy, business, aid, information, and culture into strategic weapons. The energy of events overrides all historical perspectives except those that pertain to policy, tactics, and propaganda, and a corporatized and generally cowardly media becomes an active component in this process. Our society’s signal to noise ratio has become so feeble that little that is truly meaningful or coherent can be discerned. Reflection and thoughtfulness are drowned in a sea of white noise.

Yet between the din of conflict and the clatter of a media that vacillates between producing mind-numbing entertainment and engaging in vacuous or misleading and selective reporting of current events and crises, there are present among every religion, every culture, every language, those who struggle to raise their level of awareness and understanding and that of their society. They do not deal with weapons of terror or have the power of corrupt empires at their disposal – their efforts occur in the interspaces between events and in their solidarity and support of those who suffer the consequences of unjust policies. They are often drowned out by the incessant shouting of the powerful and the connected. They do not cover over, conceal, or shrug off what has gone before, they do not defend slaughter and genocide, oppression or colonialism, apartheid or racism – they strive to overcome them. They are not swayed by the biases, fashions, trends and propaganda of their time. They seek to illuminate and halt the horrors of the present with the light of the past and with an understanding that cuts deeply through the vertical axis of this world, and through this show the possibilities of hope for the future. They do not cause suffering – they relieve it, they strive actively to alleviate the pain and distress of the oppressed. They act as witnesses for their era and their societies (“We bring forth from every people a witness” (Qur’an. 4:41)). Their determination, their simple and steadfast traces are of greater worth than all the posturing, loud clamouring and brutality of this era’s demagogues….

“….what they used to forge shall utterly depart from them….We will raise up in every people a witness against them from among themselves…. Surely God enjoins the doing of true justice and the doing of beautiful good (to others)…and He admonishes you (with a weighty warning) that you may be deeply mindful.” (Qur’an 16: 87-90)

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Political Responsibility and the Destruction of Gaza

Politicians, by the nature of their office, have a serious duty to be answerable for their words, decisions, and actions, when faced with situations that require moral judgements and ethical and moral responsibility. They especially, as a political class in which the citizenry has vested a certain degree of power and trust, must hold individual responsibility for each word and action of theirs. They cannot, especially in times of crisis, be allowed to hide behind party lines, or to abdicate their individual political responsibility to a group or ideological affiliation.

It is precisely this individual abdication of responsibility, and the individual irresponsibility arising from this, that made possible a mindset embraced by a political class that not only acceded to but actively supported and enabled, the soul-crushing crimes of the Nazis and the specific crime of the holocaust. To say “never again” to these crimes is meaningless if individual politicians subsume truth, ethics, and morality, under a group ideology, or party platform or maintain a personal morality distinct from political action.

This personal abdication of individual political responsibility in times of crisis led to seemingly ordinary family men like Adolf Eichmann, becoming efficient functionaries in a Nazi regime that coldly justified, enabled, and implemented brutally murderous policies. This was possible because of a schizophrenic tendency for politicians and the political class as a whole to hold a separation between moral and political codes of conduct and thought. And this has become an accepted approach to the world, as if not a single lesson was learned from the Nuremberg trials. The Nuremberg charter modified international law by holding individuals responsible for war crimes, genocide, and other moral breaches. Yet, the view that there is a split between individual moral responsibility and political action is prevalent today.

So we have a personal morality for one’s private life or for one’s social life. However, it is believed, politics requires a different mode of thinking, especially as it relates to foreign policy and especially in times of crisis. Political action, such people believe, requires a type of hard-headedness that demands a divorce from personal morality. And so politicians and the political class as a whole, behave like individuals with a split personality. Ideologically and with a suspension of rules and morality in times of crisis, and reasonably and morally in their personal lives.

But this not acceptable, it is not OK. Not if “never again” is applicable to humanity as a whole, and not simply for a particular class or group of people. It is not OK to commit crimes against a civilian population. It is not OK for politicians to legitimize and defend or even to prevaricate on opposition to these crimes and those who are enacting them. It is not OK for politicians to behave like low-key Eichmanns while these crimes are in progress and documented by the victims themselves as well as by those who are carrying them out.

What a position we are in – terrible terrible crimes happening in full view – a US President enabling the crimes and providing the weaponry and logistical support and diplomatic cover to push those war crimes forward – the US blocking UN security council resolutions calling for a ceasefire to address the humanitarian crisis occurring in Gaza – secret deliveries of bombs and other weaponry to IDF forces by the US without Congressional approval – the US media (and much of Western corporate media) repeating and magnifying military and ideological propaganda (which has been repeatedly proven to contain massive falsehoods) and shutting down humanitarian concerns – political denial of war crimes, genocide, and ethnic cleansing when it is happening right before the world’s eyes – and repudiation of the ICJ, the very body set up to prevent the abuse of power.

Politicians are, for better or for worse, those in whom the citizenry have vested power and trust. When that trust is openly breached and betrayed, each individual politician, each individual political representative is responsible for their part in that betrayal. There is no hiding behind party lines, no appealing to ideology or group politics. The crimes are clear and every word of justification or support for them must be accountable. Individual political responsibility is not up for negotiation. If you are in a position of political authority, and you justify or support in any way these clear crimes, you are as guilty as those who were tried at Nuremberg.

If we are ever to move away from a world in which the most horrific crimes committed against civilians go unpunished, a world we have unfortunately manufactured for ourselves, there has to be full accountability among those in whom we have vested power and authority. There is today a hardness and corruption of politician’s hearts and minds, among those that can witness war crimes of the most horrific type and intensity and yet do all they can to ignore public outcry and their own constituents in order to allow the crimes to continue unabated. A low point in political misbehaviour has been normalized.

And the justifications for this misbehaviour issue forth from the President and the White House and the media, all of whom carry forward an insane genocidal war against a trapped population of mostly women and children, accompanied with lies and self-delusion and rationalizations no less pernicious than those that once, so long ago, came out of the mouths of the German Reichstag and Adolf Eichmann.

There is simply no excuse for the abdication of individual moral responsibility, especially among those in whom a nation has vested power and authority. They must be held accountable for their betrayal of ethics and for their support of or apathy towards war crimes.

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Dua (A Prayer) for Palestinians

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

O God, the calamity has become immense and the ugliness of its destructive consequences are openly visible for all to witness. Only the deniers of Truth, those who dwell in the illusions of their own minds, who have lost their own souls and who have become like ravenous beasts – they attack and slaughter Your servants, and remain blind to what God has exposed of their monstrous actions to the world.

The coverings have been removed. Today, the kufr of those who twist and conceal and deny truth – their abject lies have been laid bare. The deniers of Truth, the enemies of mercy – the stone that is their heart is naked before the world, its covering removed. Their souls are empty husks, no faith, no kindness remains within – beauty and goodness has fled them like water from a broken pot. Drunk with hate for your servants, they strike at the innocent. Arrogantly they destroy the land and its inhabitants and exult in their wrongdoing.

But “Let it not deceive you that those who misbelieve go (so arrogantly) to and fro in the land. It is but a slight and fading possession….” But the true home is the hereafter. (Qur’an 3:196)

O God, our hope is in You. The world has become constricted for us. The destroyers of humanity, those who work corruption on the earth have become great in numbers. They no longer seek to conceal their wrongdoing. They justify depravity, and embrace oppression against your servants and against the weak as they would embrace a desired treasure, they seek to turn this world into a slaughterhouse.

Like Pharaoh and Herod, they butcher children and exult in bloodshed. Like Pharaoh and Herod their arrogance is driven by fear of Your servants and of Your justice and of being held accountable for their crimes. But the arrogant will come to know that “God sets a seal over the heart of every proud, haughty one” (Qur’an 40:35).

O God, You are the pivot point of existence, You are the repository of all good and all guidance. To You alone we turn for help, we refer our grief and sorrow to You, our hearts overflow with trust in You. Whether in the time of immense distress, or in the time of great beneficence, we trust entirely in You.

O God, send blessings on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad, and let there be joy after sorrow for the oppressed and for those whose hearts are with the oppressed. Bestow relief from You upon those of Your servants who are in distress – grant it speedily. And while they wait, send sabr (true and deep patience) down upon them, that they may persevere, for truly, You are with the patient ones. Our cries are to You alone, our turning is toward You alone. For You are the One “Who responds to the distressed when they cry out (from the depths of their hearts) to Him, relieving ˹their˺ affliction, and ˹Who˺ lifts them up and makes them successors in the earth.” (Qur’an 27:62)

O God, spare those who are suffering under oppression “the cutting edges of time’s turning changes… and the bitterness of the oppressor’s aggression….. free them from need for other than You through Your support and make them travel the path of Truth through Your right guidance.” (Psalms of Islam – supplication for his special friends)

And awaken our hearts and the hearts of all Muslims to the truth of the invocation: ‌“La hawla wa kuwata ilah Billa ali Al Azeem.”‌ That there is no power or strength save in God the most Exalted of the Exalted, the most mighty of the Mighty. And He, Allah does as He Wills.

May the peace and blessings of God be upon our master Muhammad and upon his blessed family. And may God’s beautiful mercy and relief come swiftly to the oppressed, and may His justice come swiftly upon the oppressors.

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And with Him are the keys of the unseen….

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen.” (Qur’an 6:59)

The use of unseen in the Qur’an includes vast domains of hidden reality, of worlds beyond the limits of our knowledge, of existences and creations outside the boundaries of our perception, of whole vast realms that are concealed and demarcated so as to deny us awareness and access to them while we are in this corporeal domain.

Yet it also refers to what is locked up within us, sitting patiently inside, waiting for us to do what is necessary to be able to witness it, acknowledge it, and benefit from it. It is that which is part of our metaphysical nature, a range of subtle and hidden potentials. There is a whole unseen universe internal to us of which we are unaware, from which we are blocked by the heaviness of our outlook, and our overwhelming immersion in the mundane world of matter and the suffocating and disturbing views disseminated by a modern humanity that thrives on rejection of connection to what is unseen (or outright denial of the unseen) and therefore to all that lies beyond the limits of the mundane.

Perhaps we have some faint level of awareness of this or perhaps a crisis of the moment, personal to us, or on the stage of the world awakens us to the reality of the dangers of the systems that have taken hold of society and of us. But when a crisis arises, what direction do we take our response? Is it only a worldly response or does it lead us to a deeper response, a deeper seeking from which a stronger, comprehensive rejoinder within ourselves and within the world, arises.

“Soon shall We show them Our Signs on the horizons and within their own inner being (within the depths of their own souls) until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is a witness over everything.” (Qur’an 41:53)

It is the inner state, and a deep caring about our inner state that allows us to slowly turn the key. “Or are there locks upon their hearts….” (Qur’an 47:24). The keys to an unseen knowledge within us are with Him and He allows unlocking it as He Wills for whom He Wills. But there is a method to this unlocking, this opening of the treasures He has placed within us.

“Through hearts He unlocks guidance; through concern, through care, through (what proceeds from) tongues, through (truthful) narratives; and through limbs (and what they do), through (beautiful) conduct, and an indication (of truthfulness and deep devotion).” (Jafar Sadiq (a.s) commenting on the verse “And with Him are the keys of the unseen”)

Our dwelling in this world is temporary and our return to the One is assured. So our concern, in the matter of our selves and in the matters of the world, should be infused with awareness of that return and with cognizance that we will be asked about all that proceeded from us and all that is within us.

Our care should be turned towards awareness of the gravity of the consequences that can emerge from our thoughts, words, and actions, since they all have reverberations, not only in affecting our internal states but also in affecting all that we outwardly interact with. Our inner state will guide our outward state. So we seek protection of our hearts, through Him, from turning towards concerns, cares, and actions, that are not suited to the dignity and beauty of the Truth. For that would be like breaking the key (given freely to us) within the lock so that we bar our own way to opening that which He has shown us the way to open.

“Is the one who was lifeless, whom we then enlivened, and to whom We gave a light whereby they walk (in truthfulness) among humanity, like those who have shrouded themselves in the darkness of profound wrongdoing (from which they refuse to emerge). And so We have placed in every society the most wicked to conspire in it. Yet they only plot against themselves, but they utterly fail to perceive it” (Qur’an 6:122-123)

We are lifeless when we refuse to even begin to approach and open the locks that guard and protect what is most deeply human (insan) within our hearts, that part of us connected to something profoundly elevated beyond this mundane existence. We are enlivened when we turn the key and open the locks and begin to transform our inner selves. Our selves transcend this world even as we dwell in it. We have a connection to higher realms, to a sublime domain in which our spiritual state manifests and registers its traces even while that inner state is hidden, unseen within us in this lower existence.

The keys are with Him, and He gives them to those who not only seek His guidance but who incorporate that guidance through their concern, care, love for the truth, through what passes in their thoughts, through what passes over their tongues, through striving to establish a firm and deep beauty within themselves and a beautiful but firm and sincere conduct outwardly. A sincere conviction and conduct that arises from a true attachment to that which is higher than this world and all-encompassing of this world. And a determination to turn the key that opens forever the obstructive locks upon our hearts so that we remove the cause of our own oppression and become uplifters of humanity.

“They are the ones to attain felicity.” (Qur’an 3:104)

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Your soul is sufficient as a reckoning…

Extract from The Wisdom of The Throne (Mulla Sadra)


He – May He be exalted – said:

“And We bring forth for them on the Day of the Rising a Book that they find opened wide. Read your Book! Today your soul is sufficient as a reckoning against you” (Qur’an, 17:13-14). And He – May He be exalted! – said: “And when the Pages are opened wide” (Qur’an, 81:10).

Know that everything a person does with their soul or perceives with their senses leaves a certain trace in their essence. These influences of their (psychic) movements and activities are gathered together in the “Page” of their soul and the treasury of their perceptions. And they are a “Book” which today is closed up and hidden from the scrutiny of (physical) vision. But with death, there will be revealed to them what was hidden from their vision in the condition of (bodily) life, recorded in the Book “which none shall disclose at its proper time but He” (Qur’an, 7: 187).…

“So everyone who has done even an atom’s weight of good or evil will see” (Qur’an, 99:7-8) its trace written on the Page of their essence or on a Page higher than that: this is simply another expression for the opening of the Pages [of their soul, their life] and the unfolding of the Books. Thus. whenever the time comes that a person’s (inner) vision is turned toward the countenance of their essential self, “when the veil is removed” (Qur’an, 50:22) “and the dark covering over their vision” (Qur’an, 2:7) is lifted away, then they will turn their attention towards the Page of their inner being and the Book of their soul.

Then whoever was heedless of their essential self and the accounting of their good and bad deeds will say:

“What sort of Book is this, that leaves no little thing nor any great thing uncounted?!”

And they find whatever they did (no matter how small) present there; and “your Lord deals unjustly with no one” (Qur’an, 18:48). This is because the modality of being of the other world is one that is (essentially) perceptive and alive; everyone there is “keen of sight,” in accordance with His saying: “You were heedless of this. But We have removed your veil, and Today your vision is sharp” (Qur’an, 50:22).

Then whoever is [counted] among the people of blessedness and “the people of the right hand” (Qur’an, 56:27)“they will be given their Book in their right hand” (Qur’an, 69:19; 84:7), from the direction of the “Highest Heavens” (‘Illiyun), because the things which they know [and which they did] are exalted, lofty, universal matters. (This is) just as He said: “Surely the Book of the pious is in the Highest Heavens. And what will make you understand what are the Highest Heavens?! An inscribed Book, witnessed by those drawn near” (83: 18-21).

But whoever is among those wretched ones [who darkened their souls] who are thrown back to the “lowest of the low” (Qur’an, 95:5) and among the people of the left hand – then “they will be given their Book in their left hand” (Qur’an, 69:25) or “from behind their back” (Qur’an, 84:10), from the direction of the “Great Prison” (Sijjin). (This is) because their perceptions are confined to lowly, particular ends, and because their Book comprises lying, slander, [viciousness] and all sorts of raving. So it is only fitting and appropriate that they should be… in the Gehenna (of corporeal being) [a place of abject misery where they encounter their own darknesses], as He said: “Surely the Book of the sinners is in the Great Prison. And what will make you understand what is the Great Prison?! An inscribed Book – Woe that Day to those who call it a lie!” (Qur’an, 83:7-8).

(extract from Mulla Sadra, The Wisdom of the Throne, translation and commentary by James Winston Morris)

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A prayer

This live-streamed genocide is hard to bear. But far harder to bear is the indifference of so many towards it. It breaks my heart.

So many children suffering and dying before the eyes of the world and yet there is, across the West, a conspiracy of obstinate silence, or worse, obstinate approval of the relentless bombing that deliberately targets civilians, and that is a clear war crime. With the terrible suffering of children and the heartless equation of strategically inflicting suffering on them which Israel is committing and the U.S. is aiding, I cannot help but be reminded of the Biblical verse:

“But whoso shall offend or harm one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were cast into and drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

And yet it goes on – a Christian President who in violation of every tenet that Jesus taught, is hell-bent on clearing a path for the slaughter. But we know that those in positions of power have given up something of their souls in favor of a kingdom of this world. We do what we can to counter the propaganda, to appeal to people’s conscience and call for an end to this genocide with whatever means are available to us.

But at this time, with a heart rent in pieces by the suffering I am hourly witnessing, with my whole being perturbed and distraught with the horror of what is so coldly executed on the innocent, I find my soul in desperate need of that which will stabilize and balance it in the midst of a world completely out of balance. And that, I think, cannot be found except in turning inward, through prayer and supplication (dua), to the One that encompasses both the inward and the outward, the restorer of balance. Here is a simple petition which I hope may begin to repair hearts cleft by the sorrows to which we all stand painful witness.


A Supplication

Praise belongs to God, the first before a first, the last beyond any last. No imagination is capable of reaching Him, no depiction is capable of describing Him, there is no thing in all the heavens or all the worlds that is like Him. He is the utterly unique. Minds are thrown into confusion and bewilderment and the realization of their own inadequacy and limitation when they contemplate Him. Their takbir (their recognition of His Grandeur) is an acknowledgement of this inability and of His elevation above all that they imagine. And yet He is near to His creation such that He encompasses the hearts, so ‌“know with full knowledge that God stands guard between a person and their heart….”‌ (Qur’an 8:24) He is the Generous Giver, the source of all giving, the source of all sustenance, the support for all existence, the guide and protector of hearts for those who sincerely seek His guidance. To Him we turn for all our needs while we dwell in this world and to Him is the final return.

“For it is He who gives life and death. There is nobody to give life and death besides Him. And to Him alone is the beautiful return of the servants…. (Qur’an 50:43)

Oh God, when we deal with others, guide us to ‌“deal with them in the most beautiful manner”‌(Qur’an 16:125). Let us be among the people ‌“who are faithful to their trusts and to their pledges.”‌ (Qur’an 23:8), ‌“who turn away from vain talk”‌ (Qur’an 23:3), ‌“who walk gently (with humility) on the earth”‌ (Qur’an 25:63), and who, ‌“since good and evil cannot be equal, repel the ugliness of evil with good, with that which is better and more elevated.”‌ (Qur’an 41:34)

Place us among those whose hearts are overthrown with awe when Your name is mentioned:

“For the believers are those whose hearts tremble and quake with awe when God is mentioned, whose faith increases when His revelations are recited to them, who put their trust entirely in their Lord.” (Qur’an 8;2)

Awaken our hearts through the deep realities expressed within Your Qur’an. Increase the wisdom and knowledge awakened within us through the Qur’an. Make this truthful book our constant companion as we move through this world. Make it a healing for our faults and let its verses come alive in our hearts to revive them and to remove our spiritual impoverishment.

And open the vision of our heart’s eye so we can see things as they truly are. Enable us to see the Truth as Truth and give us the ability to follow it. And enable us to see falsehood as false and give us the ability to turn away from it and to disavow it.

Make The Qur’an and not the opinions of the times be our guide. Remove all worries from us as we deal with the vagaries of our times and the confusion and turmoil within the world. Do not let us be like those whose hearts twist and turn with each passing breeze, with each passing opinion of our era, but make our hearts and our feet firm upon Your straight path, the path expressed so beautifully and powerfully in the verses of Your Book and in the lives of Your messenger and Your bondsmen, your mutaqin (Your true unswerving devotees). Make us worthy of Your book and Your path. Open our hearts to Your Presence.

Let us not be among those who take a part of Your book and leave aside the rest. For then we would be like those of whom it is said:

“Do you believe in some of the Scripture and reject the rest?…These are the ones who trade the life awaiting in the higher worlds for the life of this mundane world….” (Qur’an 2:85–86)

Rather, place us among those who follow Your book and Your prophets (all of them) with sincere hearts. Such that we:

“believe in God and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (in wholehearted submission) to Him.” (Qur’an 2:136)

Do not disgrace us by allowing us to be swayed by the foolishness and confusion of the times we live in such that we take pieces of Your book and set aside the rest. How deluded we would be then. Teach us instead to delve deeply into understanding the ayats (the verses/the signs) so they become for us a true guidance and an unswerving light when the times are dark.

Turn harmful destinies away from us and beneficial destinies towards us. Grant us the wisdom to discern between them and to turn only towards that which is of benefit, and unite us with the best, the most beautiful, the most sublime, and the most excellent of destinies.

Help us to be worthy of bearing Your trust – that trust that You offered to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but only humankind accepted it. Let us not be among those who treat the trust lightly, who follow the low aspects of their nafs (their souls) and who, through this, corrupt their own selves and corrupt the hearts of humankind. Safeguard and protect us from such influences. For as it had been said by your Prophets, ‌“scandals and great corruption will come (with increasing frequency), but woe to those through whom they come.”‌ (Matthew 18:7) Turn us away from those who deliberately turn away from Your way or distort Your way and bring about scandal, corruption, and great harm.

Awaken in our hearts the reality of the covenant (in a higher realm of existence before our existence here) mentioned in Your book, where it says, ‌“When your Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam all their descendants, and asked them to bear witness concerning their own souls: ‘Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?’ – We responded: ‘(Bala) Yes! To this we bear witness!” ‌So awaken us to this reality which sleeps in forgetfulness within us so that our hearts again bear witness and say ‌“Yes!”‌ to Your Lordship and to the trust you bestowed upon us as we journey within this world of trials and tests and difficulties. Help us reaffirm, in the depths of our hearts, our fidelity to You O God.

Let us be among those who follow Your guidance, as You have said in Your book: ‌“…surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows and acts upon My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.”‌ (Qur’an 2:38)

Surely we are Your’s and to You shall we return, so make our return a blessing and accept our supplication as You have promised when You said: ‌“I answer the prayer of the supplicants when they call on Me, so they should answer My call and trust in Me that they may walk in the right path.” ‌(Qur’an 2:186) Make our hearts sincere in our asking of You. Place us among the people of tawakkul, those who place their full trust in You and accept Your decrees, knowing that what You give is best, and beyond what we, with our limited understanding of the complexity of cause and effect, can fathom. So our full trust is in You, and We seek the best in Your decrees.

We seek refuge in You from the weakness and the crookedness in our own souls, we seek protection in You against unjust leaders, against injustice in society, against laws which favour the powerful and wealthy and discriminate against those who are oppressed and weak, against the powerful who use their power for oppression and slaughter. Place us among Your friends, those upon whom there is no fear and they are true and faithful to You and Your Book. Set right for us our understanding of our religion and Your book, for it is the guide for our souls.

You are our place of refuge and our strength. Grant us the strength to follow Your path. Take us by the hand and lead us for we cannot walk it without Your help. Grant us fidelity to Your book and let us imbibe its wisdom into our hearts, and through this grant us awe of You for You are the foundation, the source, the sustainer, the support, of all that exists – all who believe otherwise live in delusion.

And if the times we inhabit become dangerous for the believers and for Your bondsmen (Your true unswerving devotees) such that the powerful nations of the world seek to disrupt, harm, overthrow, or sow disorder, chaos, and death among the believers and within their lands, then through remembrance of You, through supplication to You, through turning to You, we seek Your help, assistance, and protection. O Allah, deliver the believers from their enemies, open or concealed, who intend harm against your servants and bondsmen. Defend them from those that plot against them, those that engage in dangerous mischief around the world, whose words are too often lying swords in their lips. Scatter their unity and dismantle their ability to do harm. If they act to harm the believers, turn that harm such that it rebounds instead on themselves. Root out firmness and determination from their hearts and fill their minds with confusion and doubt about the ill-intentioned path they take. And for the lies which they speak let them stumble and fail in their objectives through their own pride and through a humiliating exposure of their lying inventions. As You have stated in Your book, which speaks truth through every letter, word, and verse:

“Nay, but We hurl the true against the false, and truth dashes out the brains of falsehood, and behold, falsehood is an ever vanishing thing. Then woe to you for your lies….”‌ (Qur’an 21:18)

O God be the shield of the believers and of your bondsmen from all who intend them harm through word or deed. Only in You is Our strength, You are our defence, You are our salvation in difficulties and calamities and in times of trial. Open up the door of protection and relief for the believers through Your graciousness and confer the beauty of Your Mercy upon them. And bring Your relief to those who are suffering under oppression, bring them solace and raise them in nearness to you and bestow strength from You upon them.

And just as we detest being wronged by those who show enmity and hostility towards us, so also prevent us from doing wrong towards others.

Oh God, through the protective compact of Your Mercy which You have ordained for Yourself – as you have said in Your Qur’an: “Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy….”(Qur’an 6:54), so grant for all the men and women seeking Your path, the like of that which we have asked from You in this supplication, desiring Your mercy, Your guidance, Your protection, and Your help. You are truly the bestower of every bounty, the source of every blessing, and the goal of every desire. Draw us near to You and bind our hearts to You so that we will not stray in this world.

And awaken our hearts and the hearts of all Your servants to the truth of this invocation: ‌“La hawla wa kuwata ilah Bila ali Al Azeem.”‌ That there is no power or strength save in God the most Exalted of the Exalted, the most mighty of the Mighty. And He, Allah does as He Wills.

“And Increase us, O Lord, in marvelling at You, in awe of You and the beauty of what You have created.”

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our master Muhammad and upon his blessed family.

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There is no existential threat to Israel

There is no existential threat to Israel or to the Jewish people or to Judaism. There is, however, as there should be, a very real threat to political Zionism. Its time is done.

Judaism is a faith, a religion, a way of life, and it is to be respected, honoured, and protected. Political Zionism is a colonial project with an ugly, brutal, bloody history of heartless occupation, ethnic cleansing, and systematic oppression of an entire people. It deserves no respect, no honour. It needs to end once and for all and to be replaced with a new paradigm of equality, free of the ugly dichotomy of occupier and occupied.

This is no longer something the Palestinians need to ask the Western powers for. They have experienced decades of western obfuscation, vetos of UN declarations, protection of Zionist crimes. They know western assistance is a mirage, a delusion, a con game used to repeatedly mislead and to delay and prevent the end of Israeli apartheid.

For Israel to maintain and continue their unconscionable apartheid project they are compelled to deny the reality of history, to cast as unreal the aspirations and the suffering of the Palestinian people, and to be obstinately blind to their own misdeeds.

Today, we see an openly racist discourse, promulgated by the Israeli government, supported openly by Zionists of every stripe, backed by the U.S. and other western nations, amplified by the western media, and echoed in the halls of power and commerce. Humanistic ideals such as tolerance, equality, enlightenment, and the rule of law are simply a disguise, a mask, a front. Like Dorian Gray, these pretend ideals are merely a pretty picture, a portrait concealing a monstrous reality, a corruption so deep and malignant that genocide is a mere trifling matter undertaken and supported without compunction.

No moral, ethical, historical, or social constraints restrain those infected with the virus of Zionism as they inexorably move forward toward their aim of annexing all of Palestine and “cleansing” it of its inhabitants. They believe themselves a world entire unto themselves and not subject to any paradigms or rules that attempt to come between them and their ultimate aim. The map, devoid of Palestinian territory, that Netanyahu displayed at the UN General Assembly made this clear. And the ongoing firebombing of Gaza and its civilian population by a government devoid of humanity, makes clear that they will attempt to achieve this end, no matter the human cost.

Zionists have a particular very narrow narrative by which they live. The world has to bend to their narrative and they apparently have no interest in fitting into a larger shared human story. Theirs is a narrative of exceptionalism in which there is no place for Palestinians and their attachment to Palestine. Palestine is outside the boundaries of a Zionist narrative and so it has no legitimacy, no place within the “true” reality espoused by Zionism and backed and enforced by the West.

The West adheres to its own narrative of Western exceptionalism, an approach which allows it to impose rules and limits on others while violating those rules and limits itself. It, like Israel, sees no contradiction in this behaviour, since it views itself as the ultimate end and fulfillment of the movement of history, as witnessed by the U.S. president’s declaration that “America is not just the greatest country in the world, but the greatest nation in the entire history of the world.”

The grandiosity with which the U.S. and Israel view themselves presages a kind of delusional narcissism that is a danger to their own selves and an even greater danger to the rest of the nations, who are trapped, in this shrinking world, with these unstable, untrustworthy, and somewhat deranged inmates. Inmates who are heavily armed and who view themselves as wardens, self-appointed to monitor, limit, restrict, and exploit their charges. At a time of crisis, like the world is currently experiencing, the dangerous incompetence of these delusional wardens is laid bare for all to see.

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Gaza – a lamentation

This fall the harvest of the olive trees became doubtful. The F-16s roared overhead as we went to pick fruit from slim trees newly rising from the bulldozed soil of the old groves. Their desert flowers were scattered here and there, but their blossoms were now replaced by the incandescent blooms that flared endlessly, brightly, shattering our homes, our families, our city, our land.

Autumn came on like a fever, burning up the land with a relentless urge to disfigure, implacable and indiscriminate. And we burned with it. Like dry kindling, we sparked and then flamed, first a low smoky fire, flickering and dying and then flaring again, until in the full oppression of our neighbor’s rancour and ire, we flashed like a wildfire and began to truly burn.

This fall the skies rained metal and splashed shrapnel, piercing our flesh, sluicing open our arteries, slicing into our hearts. But our blood was like oil and we let it pour upon the flames. In the heat of our oppression, we became furnaces until the ovens of our bodies could no longer contain the heat, and collectively we became a conflagration, a holocaust of burning bodies set on fire by the children of the holocaust of old.

But the fire ignited our souls, we became “light upon light” (Qur’an 24:35) till the eyes of those who sought our destruction were blinded with the intensity of our suffering. Our homes, our fields, our lands, burned with us as the metal rain became a deluge, and rivers of flame, mixed with our blood, flowed through our streets.

Our cries are all luminous brightness within, our selves blessed olive trees whose blood, like oil, shines forth even as our bodies blacken, burning with our beloved land. God guides whom He wills to light. The time of test and trial is here.

“So Who responds to the suffering of the distressed when they cry out to Him, and lifts the evil (of the oppression) they are suffering….” (Qur’an 27:62)

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The template of their fiction

When there is no connecting thread that ties information together the way is opened for someone to overlay a story (a way of viewing the information) onto events and in this way to color and shape perceptions. Rather than looking for patterns which naturally emerge from events and which best explains all the information, a desired interpretation is instead imposed upon the data. This is a function of propaganda – a storyline is strongly, emotionally, and persistently repeated – its outcome and objectives are linked to a national/societal ego, to strategic hegemonic goals, to pride, and to fear of imminent dangers and threats. The information that doesn’t fit the story is re-interpreted or deemed irrelevant or insignificant while that which bolsters and supports the ideological viewpoint is emphasized and harped upon as evidence of the truth of the story and the viewpoint. First comes the policy, then the story to legitimize the policy – this becomes the frame through which all information is viewed, the template which blocks out undesired interpretations – if it doesn’t fit the frame it’s not relevant. So we are asked to dwell within the limits of this story, to only look outward through that particular frame. Their main task is not to search out the truth but to propagate particular narratives, particular fictions.

Israel uses these techniques to frame the stories fed to the media, the U.S. amplifies the stories, and the media duly propagates and endlessly repeats them ensuring that no other views can challenge those narratives. The aim is to clear a path for actions and violence and to legitimize Israel’s continued brutal colonial occupation of Palestine, something that would normally never be acceptable. It is the attempt to make, in the minds of people, the unacceptable acceptable or even to make the unacceptable desirable.

In this is a tragedy that overtakes all involved. Some swallow and then carry out the plot of the story in the hope and belief that the fiction they are enacting is a true one. They believe the imagined story, they act on that story, and they hope to bring it to their wished for imagined ending. They have overlaid the template of their fiction on the world and through every means at their disposal they seek to press that template upon it, rending, tearing apart, editing out, or re-interpreting whatever does not fit the convolutions of the plot they spin. And in the process real living people, real children and women and men are edited out of existence by the very real bombs used to fulfill the cruel stories visited so brutally upon their helpless flesh.

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Mocking principle, mocking truth, mocking Prophets

“Alas for the servants! there comes not to them an apostle (with truth) but they mock at him.” (Qur’an 36:30)

According to the Christian gospels, when Jesus was arrested and held in Jerusalem, the Roman soldiers charged with his capture were simultaneously amused by and spiteful towards him. Their spite was tinged with a sense of the superiority they felt through the virtue of belonging to what they believed was a vastly superior culture, one grounded in “reality”, not one based on some vague prophecies and the impractical teachings of a so-called Prophet. Their solid conviction in the pre-eminence of their civilization, their certainty in the unshakable power and authority backing them created within them a disdain and contempt for the unkempt, ragged looking disciples and for the bearded brown Prophet who led them. Malice, and anger combined with arrogance, caused them to first mock and deride Jesus and then, according to the gospels, to brutalize him.

“….And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.” (Luke 63 – 65)

Assured by his position in office and by the support of the people, Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged and then handed him over to the mockery of his men in the praetorium. They engaged in jest and sport against Jesus by dressing him in a viciously farcical mockery of kingly attire, pressing a ring of thorns onto his head.

“…Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him….” (Matthew 27 – 29)

Here there is the mockery by the temporarily powerful as a display of their power and as a reassurance to themselves of their superiority. This is a drama that has been replayed endlessly throughout history in different ways (by the irreligious, the anti-religious, and those (religious or not) who overthrow principle and let power politics shape their outlook and behavior. We have seen it repeatedly in our time, we see it today in the land of Jesus (and other great prophets) where occupiers run amok, backed by the militarily powerful. We see it in the dehumanizing, mocking rhetoric of their propaganda and in years of callous and deadly oppression by them.

In the case of Jesus, it was insufficient to have sway over him and to determine his fate, so it was also necessary to attempt to debase him and that which he stood for – to cancel out the psychological discomfort that his existence generated. It is a way of lashing out at the possibilities that the teachings and his very presence raises. If that reality is derided, then we can be satisfied with mere physical and psychological existence, and power and authority, however immoral, becomes the forefront of our experience and is satisfying and sufficient for us.

Yet there remains an agitation (manifested in attitude and action) in those who take such a mental path. “Man was created in restlessness/anxiety.” (Qur’an 70:19). In the case of those who confront, disparage, and mock the Prophets, this state of restlessness, of dissatisfaction and anxiety increases in urgency and intensity when they face one who advances claims concerning the existence of realities that transcend the worlds we know. And so the reaction is disproportionate and extreme as perhaps it is a reaction to an internal contradiction – an attempt to counter inner anxiety and tension by exercising a mocking superiority. Perhaps this arises from an unrecognized, unacknowledged, unrealized metaphysical connection – a subtle but foundational recognition of the Absolute – the remaining echo of our nafs acknowledgment of it’s meeting with God in pre-eternity.

“When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam all their descendants, and asked them to bear witness concerning themselves (concerning their own souls, their nafs): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?”- They responded: “Yes! To this we bear witness!” (This), lest you say on the Day of Return: “Of this we were ignorant” (Qur’an 7:172)

We may not be able to grasp the full meaning and import of this covenant and the manner in which it dwells within us, but it nevertheless exists as an impulse within our being. And so long as it exists unrecognized, unknown, buried, forgotten and unsought, denied appropriate outlets, human restlessness and anxiety turns and churns unquenched. And in times of stress or challenge to the status quo, governments turn unflinchingly, zealously murderous, and their citizens, like Jesus’ mockers and scourgers, become unfeelingly callous.

“They only desire to ruin and erase you: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.” (Qur’an 3:118)

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